It’s summer, which is usually a very good time for Janet Evanovich, whose Stephanie Plum mysteries can be seen at beaches and on airplanes around the country as people devour books they know they can toss when they’re done with them.
I’m not knocking Evanovich’s books — One for the Money, Two for the Dough, Hot Six and so forth — they’re fun and quickly forgettable so there’s no issue with leaving the book wherever you finish them.
This, though, is turning into a Summer of Discontent, to some degree for her.
Deadline New York’s Mike Fleming reported earlier this week that Evanovich — St. Martin’s Press’s “biggest fiction author” — is moving on after 15 years because the publisher refused to pay her request for $50 million for her next four books.
That’s right. $50 million.
Now I’m not saying that Evanovich doesn’t make a lot of money for St. Martin’s — her books regularly sell hundreds of thousands of copies as they camp out on best-seller lists. And it’s not like there’s not a bunch of authors who make even more (let’s not forget JK Rowling, who leaves all others in her wake).
When The New York Times profiled James Patterson earlier this year, they titled the piece: “James Patterson, Inc.”
I have no doubt that Evanovich’s agent, her son Peter, will be able to get someone to pay her what she wants. And I certainly am not saying that St. Martin’s should get rich off of her work…
My issue is that when you read stories about small-press publishers that manage to find the occasional Pulitzer-winner or another one getting shut down from lack of funds or a charity working to make sure school kids have enough books (any books!) to read and then you read about someone balking because she can’t $50 million?
Here’s an idea.
Find a new publisher who is going to give you, say $30 million for the four books and make them use the other $20 million to discover new talent or to help keep a literary magazine afloat or something.
So many people are struggling, so many great artists toil for nothing.
Make your money, Evanovich but spread the wealth.